Shrove Tuesday – 21 February

It’s Shrove Tuesday next week, and the shops have quickly swapped Valentine’s displays for pancake ingredients.   Pancake Spice from Just Spices is a warming blend with notes of cinnamon, lemon and cardamom making it perfect for mixing through your batter or as a topping on fluffy warm pancakes. While it might be too late for next Tuesday, you’ll still find lots of other ways to use these spices: for baking; giving your porridge, rice pudding or yoghurt an extra oomph… plus a host of dessert applications. £4.99 from Just Spices alongside a host of other great mixes.

African Gin

Amarula African Gin is made from ‘marula fruit spirit’, giving it a distinctive and exotic taste. And with every litre of Amarula African Gin sold, £1 goes to the Amarula Trust – supporting elephant conservation and local communities which harvest this special fruit once a year. The makers of Amarula Cream Liqueur launched this premium, complex and unique gin, which celebrates the exotic flavours of the indigenous marula fruit – offering a sweet orange note with a spicy backbone. Serve it with Indian tonic, over ice with a slice of fresh grapefruit for an unexpected twist on the classic G&T. Amarula African Gin is 43% ABV, available on Amazon for £25 for 700ml. 

Umami Superboost Powder

Umami is the fifth taste (sweet, sour, bitter and salty being the others).  Its intensity comes from many foods including mushrooms, miso, seaweed, tomatoes and cheese. Umazing is the brainchild of London-based vegan chef Kalvinder Chaggar.  This Miso and Shitake Superboost Powder is a potent, deliciously umami, combination of fermented miso and other organic, umami-rich ingredients.  It’s a seasoning that deepens the flavour of savoury dishes and will  lift your culinary repertoire.  I love it on scrambled eggs, with plain rice or pasta, but am finding I’m sprinkling it on lots of other foods…yum!  It’s packed with healthy microbiota, reduces your salt consumption, and it’s a Great Taste Award winner, and you can buy from £14.99 for a 60g pot. 

Mashed Potato in a Trice

We’ve all had those times when we’re in a hurry, but fancy something hot and tasty for a quick lunch – especially on a cold day!  I tried the new Idahoan Perfect Mash Pots recently and they are excellent!  Available in two flavours: Bubble & Squeak or Bacon & Cheese, they’re a great office standby too, as they only need boiling water.  They’re 100 % real potato, and low calorie at 220 calories or less per pot.  Idahoan Pots are available from Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Ocado  RRP £1.50.

Cold Brew Coffee meets Guinness

Fans of Guinness and cold brew coffee will love Guinness Cold Brew Coffee Beer Roasted coffee flavour packs notes of chocolate, caramel and coffee, giving off a smooth tone, and making it a great after-work beverage. It’s ideal for coffee lovers as well as beer lovers.  Guinness Cold Brew Coffee Beer is widely available in Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco for around £5.50 for 4 x 440ml cans, ABV 4%.

Ice Cream Dream

Finally, a taste of heaven!  Häagen-Dazs, has teamed up with Pierre Hermé, one of the world’s greatest pastry chefs, to create an extraordinary macaron ice cream range! Packed with mini macaroons and so yummy, they are available in Strawberry & Raspberry or Double Chocolate Ganache, and worth seeking out! Try two of each at Asda at £3.50 for a mixed pack of four mini pots.